World News

China says kills five Uighurs seeking "holy war"

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have shot and killed five people who were seeking “holy war” in the restive far western region of Xinjiang, state media said on Wednesday, less than one month before the Beijing Olympics open.

Police in regional capital Urumqi raided an apartment where 15 ethnic Uighurs were hiding, who rushed out wielding knives and shouting “sacrifice for Allah”, Xinhua news agency cited an unidentified police officer as saying.

“The policemen were then forced to open fire, killing five on the spot and injuring two. The injured were sent to hospital and the other nine people were captured,” he was quoted as saying.

“The suspects confessed they had all received training on the launching of a ‘holy war.’ Their aim was to kill Han people, the most populous ethnic group in China whom they took as heretics, and found their own state,” the report added.

The police had been on the trail of three men in the group who they suspected of stabbing a Han Chinese woman, Xinhua said.

Beijing accuses militant Uighurs of working with al Qaeda to used violence to bring about an independent state called East Turkestan. It says it foiled at least two Xinjiang-based plots this year to launch attacks during the Beijing Games.

Many Muslim Uighurs resent the migration of Han Chinese to the region and government controls on their religion and culture.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard